Darren Bennett (dancer)
|Born||Darren Lee Bennett
14 February 1977
Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England
|Spouse(s)||Lilia Kopylova (1999-present)|
Darren Lee Bennett (born 14 February 1977) is a professional dancer, as were his parents. With his wife Lilia Kopylova he has a successful career in professional Latin dancing, competing nationally and internationally. Darren's favourite dances are the Samba and the Foxtrot. They teach private lessons in their own studio at Sheffield, England.
Bennett was born in Sheffield. He first met Kopylova after his twin brother Dale, also a dancer, introduced them. In November 2005 Bennett and Kopylova won the British Championships for Professional Latin, coming first in all five dances. In November 2006 they successfully defended this title against a challenge from Olga Rodionova and Paul Richardson, who had been competing for the USA but had recently registered as a British couple. Bennett and Kopylova triumphed winning all five dances to retain the title.
In February 2008, Bennett and Kopylova were winners of the Carl Alan Award for Ballroom, Latin and Sequence (performers)- a prestigious title described by the IDTA as 'the Oscars of the world of dance'.
The couple are currently starring in a West End dance show, Latin Fever, which they have choreographed themselves, as well as choosing the music and costumes to reflect the mood of each Latin dance.
Strictly Come Dancing
- Series Two: Won with his partner, actress Jill Halfpenny.
- Christmas Special: Won with his partner from series two, Jill Halfpenny.
- Series Three: Knocked out in the third week with his partner, TV presenter Gloria Hunniford.
- Series Four: Knocked out in the final (third place) after competing with singer Emma Bunton. They also competed together in the 2006 Christmas Special, finished in third place overall (the remaining couples were not ranked).
- Series Five: Knocked out in the quarter-final (fourth place) after competing with actress Letitia Dean. They also competed together in the 2007 Christmas Special, but were not placed in the final two overall (the remaining couples were not ranked).
- Live Tour 2008: Competing at a series of venues during January and February 2008 with Series Five partner Letitia Dean, they won once (31 January 2008), and were runners up on two further occasions. The tour was based on a similar format to the main series, with each couple performing two routines which were marked by the judges, and the audience being invited to vote for their favourite.
- Series Six: Knocked out in the fourth week, dancing with EastEnders' Jessie Wallace. Won the 2008 Christmas Special with Jill Halfpenny, meaning they became two of the select few couples to win the Christmas Special twice.
- On the 2009 Strictly Come Dancing Tour Darren was re-united with his Series 2 partner and champion Jill Halfpenny.
- Series Seven: Knocked out in the fourth week, dancing with Actress and Loose Women presenter Lynda Bellingham
|Year||Celebrity partner||Week #||Dance||Judges' scores|
Darren along with wife Lilia have been heavily involved in the "Essentially Dance" scheme, with the intention to give all children within the UK a chance to experience ballroom and Latin dance, the scheme is funded by the Aldridge Foundation and was officially launched on June 22, 2009.
Natasha Kaplinsky and Brendan Cole
|Strictly Come Dancing Champion
(with partner Jill Halfpenny)
Series 2 (Autumn 2004)
Darren Gough and Lilia Kopylova